William V. Hardy (1863-1950) is best known for having climbed Mt. Waialeale from Kokee to its summit 22 times – 14 of them alone – between 1911 and 1920 to read its rain gauge as part of his work with the U.S Geological Survey – a record number of ascents for its time.
“The trail to Waialeale is the dimmest, most difficult to find and follow of any trail I have ever seen. Many times I took my compass out to find we were going backwards, or sideways, any direction but the right one,” he once said.
Guiding him and others on climbs to the summit was Hulu Taniguchi (1896-1933), a cowboy at the Robinson’s Makaweli Ranch.
Notably, it was Hulu who guided the Geological Survey expedition that placed the very first rainfall gauge atop Mt. Waialeale in 1910.
Hulu’s son, Eddie Taniguchi Sr. (1919-1984), a ranch foreman for Gay &Robinson, later became legendary for having made a record of over 25 climbs to the summit as a guide and for his uncanny ability to find trails while hunting in Kokee and Waimea Canyon.
Taniguchi said that no one had ever been off the trail to Mt. Waialeale without paying for it with his life.
Born in Indiana, William V. Hardy went west in the mid-1880s, rode cattle ranges in Montana in 1888, and then went to Oregon, where he was a hunter, trapper, and prospector before joining the U.S Geological Survey in 1895.
Thereafter, he was with the survey in Oregon, Alaska, and the western United States, mostly in California, before being sent to Kauai in 1911.
In 1920, he started farming at Kapaa, managed the East Kauai Water Co. for a time, and was associated with federal projects on Kauai.
He and his wife, Lillian Akina Hardy, had two sons: Kauai and Barlow Hardy.
Climbing Mt. Waialeale to measure its rainfall gauge became unnecessary following the installation of automatic measuring equipment and the use of helicopters to carry personnel to the summit beginning circa 1940s.
Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at email@example.com